The years-long trend of more women joining ASX200 company boards has suddenly stalled

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Progress on getting a better representation of women on the boards of big ASX-listed company has stalled.

At the end of August there were 25.4% female directors across the ASX200, only fractionally above the 25.3% achieved at the end of 2016.

The percentage of female directors across the ASX 200 has risen dramatically since 2009 when it stood at just 8.3%, but it seems this trend has recently come to an abrupt halt.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), which has a 30% female representation target by 2018, says the numbers are concerning.

“Hopefully this (Quarterly Gender diversity) report serves as wake-up call to directors, investors and shareholders across the ASX 200,” says AICD chair Elizabeth Proust.

“There’s no doubt that this AGM season we need action to achieve greater gender diversity on the boards of Australia’s largest companies.

“The research is clear. Gender diversity on boards is not just common sense, it is also good business sense.”

There are still 11 ASX200 boards with no women on their boards and 64 which have only one female director.

“One female director does not equal gender diversity,” says Proust.

“The research shows that critical mass, that is 30%, needs to be achieved in order to see the full benefits of diversity realised.”

The bigger the company on the ASX200 list, the better the female representation, as this chart shows:

Source: AICD

The 11 ASX 200 companies with no women on their board as of August 31 were: CIMIC Group Limited, Mineral Resources Ltd, TPG Telecom, Reliance Worldwide Corporation Ltd, Qube Holdings Ltd, ARB Corporation Ltd, Evolution Mining Ltd, Australian Agricultural Company Ltd, Flight Centre Travel Group, Speedcast International Ltd, Investa Office Fund.

Among the companies leaving the list of of those with 30% female board members is Ardent Leisure Group with the departure of Deborah Thomas, the former editor and journalist, as managing director and CEO following the fatal accident last year at the Dreamworld theme park.

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